West meets east

It’s been a while since my last entry and life has been a bit of a whirlwind. Husband was out of work for ten months and during this period of job hunting, as the job opportunities in San Diego County were not opening up–to either of us, as I was also looking for a professional position, we agreed that he would expand his job search nationwide. This proved to be very fruitful and resulted in our move all the way to the east coast in the beautiful state of Maryland.

For me the move was very emotional. I cried as discreetly as I could the entire plane trip. I miss my grandchildren and my kids and parents very much. When I got off the plane and saw my husband, I sobbed in his arms and then cried all the way to our new home, which he was not expecting at all. Husband started his job in August and he moved two months before I did, and with the separation, I think he was expecting a happier reunion. It was, and still is, his worst fear that I would take this move very hard and resent him for it. I expect the sadness will go away with time. Husband is the most wonderful person in the world and loves me so much, that in spite of the tears, it was a very happy reunion.

This first week has been filled with constant unpacking, daily stink bug catching, snake rescuing, and putting forth my best effort to make this house a home. It’s a beautiful home and quite roomy, though smaller than our home in the west. The basement can hold everything I don’t want in the living area, so the house looks tidy. The day after I arrived, we caught about a hundred stink bugs. Apparently there has been a stink bug problem here in Maryland for a few years. Each day I catch fewer and fewer. Today, only two. The dogs have quickly become expert bug sniffers and will let me know when a bug has entered the house.

Yesterday morning when hauling more boxes down to the basement, I went to move a box and there was a little snake on top of one of the flaps. This totally startled me and I wanted to call husband; my very next thought was that I want to go home. I immediately went upstairs. I got up the courage to go back down to the basement and knock the snake into a big bucket so I could let him outside. After trying to get the snake off the box, it was discovered that the poor thing was stuck to the tape. Who knows how long it was there, but it looked dehydrated. I decided to rip the tape off the box and then try to somehow get the tape off the snake. I drizzled a little fish oil squeezed from a vitamin onto the tape to release the glue. After a few minutes, this did the trick and the little snake was set free outside my back door.

The scenery here is absolutely beautiful. Groups of white-tailed deer linger in the yard when the dogs don’t bark at them. We live on the border of a beautiful state park with lovely trails and streams. I think I am going to be happy here.

 

“Singin’ the blues” blue cheese stuffed eggs

There is a retirement party at the library tomorrow and we’re all singing the blues. A very nice man who has worked at the library for many years has decided it’s time to leave us. I think Blue-Cheese Stuffed Eggs is the perfect dish to bring for the occasion. Who would have thought that eggs and blue cheese together would taste good, but it is a perfect combination of flavors. You just have to try if for yourself. This is a gluten free recipe.

Singin' the blues blue cheese stuffed eggs
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Blue cheese stuffed deviled eggs
Ingredients
  • 6 hard cooked eggs
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or tarragon vinegar
Instructions
  1. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks. Mash yolks with cheese, mayonnaise, parsley, salt, pepper, and vinegar until thick and smooth. Add more mayonnaise as needed. Fill egg whites with mixture. Chill until ready to serve.
Notes
Slice eggs with a wavy slicer for special effect. My slicer is from Pampered Chef.

 

Banana Cake

All this week, sitting on the kitchen counter, were three large bananas that were getting riper and riper with each day. Bananas are not my most favorite fruit–I think they make me fat–and my dearest was out of town for a job interview all week and this uneaten bunch of bananas grew more spotty and brown every day. Each evening when I came home from work, the smell of ripening bananas would be the first thing to greet me, and I kept thinking to myself that I’ve got to do something about this. So, today I decided to put these bananas out of their misery. Not wanting to make the standard banana bread, I looked in my favorite cookbook for some ideas and came upon a recipe for Banana Cake. I had all the ingredients in my pantry, including lemon juice.

The ingredients are simple: flour blend, bananas, brown sugar, shortening, baking soda, cinnamon, etc. and, as already mentioned, a little lemon juice. I mixed up the batter, which was quite lovely to see in the bowl. I also used for the first time a new flour blend given to me for Mother’s Day by my daughter, called Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour. It’s not much different than what I mix myself, except it contains dry milk powder and it has xanthan gum already in it. This flour is not completely allergen free due to the milk, which means a lot of people can’t use it.

This cake recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan, but I thought I would try baking in a bundt pan. I dredged the inside of the pan with flour and sugar to see if this might create a candy-like outer crust. We’ll see…

Finally, out of the oven. The bundt pan increased the cake’s cooking time by 20 minutes and the house smelled wonderful. My sweetie, who came home yesterday, called down from upstairs to tell me this while it was still in the oven. Dredging with flour and sugar made a crunchy coating, though not very discernable.

This cake is very spongy and light, and very different than banana bread. This would make an impressive dessert topped with custard, or a Bananas Foster sauce with sliced fresh bananas. I sprinkled a bit of confectioner’s sugar on top before enjoying. I highly recommend this recipe and the cookbook, Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal.

Recommended links:
Cup4Cup flour and recipes
Cybele Pascal’s Cookbook